The devastating collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa last week was not only a great tragedy for those who lost their lives (the death toll has now surpassed 40), but it had initially caused a serious disruption for travel between France and Italy.
Goods, transport, and export to the port of Genoa relied on the bridge for a smooth flow of products on both sides of the border.
But perhaps the most pressing transport disruption was for those on holiday. Due to the collapse of the bridge in the midst of August holidays and the day before the Europe-wide holiday of the Assumption, the Morandi bridge was the main motorway connection between holiday travellers from Italy and the South of France. Considering the second week of August is one of the most trafficked weeks of the year, it is lucky that the bridge was not bumper-to-bumper with cars before the bridge gave way. For a previous article on the bridge and the Nice and Cannes mayor’s pledge of support to Italy, click here.
In the immediate aftermath, it appeared that traffic would be stopped and many travellers made last-minute changes, assuming they would not be able to traverse Genoa. Local hotel and B’n’B owners reported Italians requesting extra days because they doubted they could return home. However, authorities were quick to divert traffic both through the city of Genoa and north along the motorway to Alessandria.
The following day, signs along the Autostrada were directing motorists from the A10 to the A7 towards Milan. But many motorists exited to the port and drove through the city around the bridge. This led to a tailback through the hot streets of Genoa.
Deviating traffic north adds several kilometres, however, it keeps traffic free flowing and prevents a gridlock situation in the city. It is also important to keep the heavy-load lorries out of city congestion. Google Maps quickly updated the route around the bridge, offering routes both through the city and up the A7 to Alessandria.
Clearly another bridge will not be built overnight, so the detour north will be the official route for at least several months. In a press conference on 18 August, Autostrada Italia, who runs the Italian motorway, announced they have plans to build a new steel bridge within eight months.